04 Jan 4 Signs It’s Time to Shift
It’s that time of year again. When we reflect on the past year, look ahead to the new year, and make some shifts. But when it comes to shifting in the workplace, there’s not a right or wrong time to make a positive shift.
And there are certainly some signs you should be aware of that can occur any time of year to warn you it’s time to shift. Whether for you personally, as a manager or leader, as an employee and team member, or even as a spouse or parent, understanding the following subtle signs can mean more productivity, joy, and progress in the workplace (and maybe even at home).
- Noticeable Frustration.
Frustration is not uncommon in the workplace, but if you’re feeling constant frustration (to the point of keeping you up at night or bringing it home), then it’s time to evaluate where that frustration is coming from and address it.
Sources of frustration can be driven by team members, a specific individual, lack of business results, lack of communication or respect, lack of direction, and more.
If you’re finding yourself constantly frustrated, pause, think about the source and why it’s a frustration to you, and create a plan to address it.
- A Stagnant Team.
I have seen my fair share of organizations that have been on the merry-go-round of “this is how it’s always been done, so this is how we always do it.”
This sentiment is okay if you’re seeing the positive business results you want, have a strong culture, and have satisfied employees, but that isn’t typical.
Stagnation inhibits innovation. People want to be challenged, to use their gifts, and to affect results. If you’re feeling like you and/or your team is in the movie Groundhog Day, doing the same thing over and over without question or purpose, it’s time to shift.
- Working Overtime.
Managers tend to work more hours. This can be typical of the role, especially when you’re likely managing up and down, but if you’re often conducting work outside your core hours, it’s time to shift.
There isn’t one cause for overworking. It could be a lack of delegation to team members because of trust or comfort. It could be a lack of personal organization. It could be because you’re short-staffed.
Identifying the source of your extra hours is the key to determining how to shift away and lighten your load to your core hours and items that will give the biggest return for you, your team, and your company.
- Running on Empty.
If you’re completely drained when you come home and have little else to give to your family, pets, friends, and other interests and responsibilities, it’s time to shift. This isn’t to say you aren’t going to have some days that are long and tiring, but if your work is draining you consistently, it’s time to evaluate why and make some changes.
Often you’ll see both overtime and empty tank symptoms together. Who wouldn’t be drained if you’re working overtime consistently, possibly doing multiple jobs at once, and still have more responsibilities at home?
When you feel like you’re running on empty, it’s time to reflect and re-evaluate priorities and seek support. This may be from your supervisor, your team, or even at home.
When Someone Else Needs to Shift
Oftentimes, it’s easier to see when others need to shift (outward reflection) than seeing when we personally need to shift (inward reflection). In fact, if you’re conducting regular one-on-ones with your team members, it should be easy to see when a shift is needed because you’re more in-tune with them and listening to their needs and concerns.
If you’re not conducting these important one-one-ones or having them often, then there are other signs your team members may need to shift, which include:
- Shutting down
- Lack of participation in meetings or projects
- Combative behavior with you or other team members
- Checked out
While awareness is the first step to shifting for the better, it’s not so easily done. For people to take actionable steps to shift, they need to:
- Believe they can
- Know there is a benefit to doing it
If someone believes there is no other option than what they are currently doing and aren’t willing to be creative and try a different approach, they won’t shift and change. If addressing a team member, always include the benefit to them, the team, and suggestions on ways to shift. The most important thing is letting them know you are there to support them.
The above signs are what I would consider being early warning symptoms to a more severe long-term organizational health concern. Similar to any illness, if caught quickly and addressed, symptoms can quickly reside and you can continue moving forward.
If symptoms are ignored and persist without any intervention and support, it can mean a lot longer road to recovery, twice the amount of work, and detrimental health concerns to your company culture, employee morale, including burnout, turnover, and literal mental and physical illness.
This New Year, I encourage you to work on awareness of yourself and your team’s behaviors. To catch these symptoms early and address them through uncovering the source and creating a tangible plan of action to shift.
If you’re finding it’s difficult to uncover that source or create an effective solution, connect with me for a free 15-minute workplace diagnosis today.